Table for One
My friend Todd at the office is on to me. Even though I get in most mornings before 9, he's noticed I rarely eat anything resembling breakfast food before 11. Lunch is a 4 p.m. affair. And as those who know me well (and marvel at my cast iron stomach) observe, my dirty little secret is that I enjoy dinner around 12:30 a.m. , often following a couple of Grant's or perhaps a Pernod, and usually accompanied by Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow. It all aids digestion and contributes to a good night's sleep. I probably won't be nominated for Surgeon General any time soon, though perhaps a guest appearance on Dr. Oz is possible.
I know so many people who adapt their diets to their lifestyle. I model my lifestyle after my diet -- which means I usually eat alone!
I have always wanted to open a restaurant. Right after college in Middlebury, I imagined a wood-hewn spit & sawdust watering hole called Books, Brie & Boucherie, preferably in a refurbished 200 year-old barn. When L.A. proved to be a disappointing haunt for tortured east coast author types, I fantasized a clique-y NYers-away-from-home morning spot called Just Brood. Ultimately, I stopped and moved back to more nurturing pastures. Today's outpost would simply be called -- Raw. Because I cannot look at good ingredients without wanting to eat them fresh off the boat.
I believe we can attribute the roots of this odd behavior to my mother (hanging curveball, I know!), because myself and ALL the Carlton kids grew up stealing pinches of "chopped meat" out of the Pyrex mixing bowl when Mom made meatballs for dinner (she also owned a counter clamp-on meat grinder and sometimes ground her own.)
Today, I either defy science or contribute to the latest research in praise of a healthy gut, because there's pretty much nothing I won't eat uncooked. Some people can call their wines and whiskies in a blind taste test? Me, I would stake a bottle of Lagavulin that I could pick out Fleisher's, Union Market, or Whole Foods (Skillman Farm's grass-fed) beef in a taste test 9 times out of 10. If you dare:
- 4/10 lb good raw meat
- Sea salt
- A dollop of raw egg yolk
- Pinch of Progresso Italian breadcrumb
- Tsp or less of good Dijon mustard
- Shake of Worcestershire
- A little pepper, a whiff of cayenne, and/or a shake of any other fun salt that tempts your tastebuds (Lawry's, Crazy Jane's, Paul Prudhomme's, etc)
Ground it all up by hand and add dry ingredients to taste until it looks and feels like a perfect uncooked burger. Serve as a patty next to a small salad or as tiny little meatballs, begging to be spread on a crusty baguette. Wash down with a heady Cabernet and 20 mgs of Lipitor.